This week's post is a guest post by Rick Shockley of Shockley Marketing.
Every small business owner knows obtaining prime real estate in the Google search results is an incredible way to drive new business, but very few know what it takes and what SEO strategies can be implemented to get them there.
Here are 4 things any small business (with little to no knowledge of SEO) can do this week to begin improving their website’s SEO.
1. Optimize your home page. The first step of SEO is to make sure your home page is properly communicating with search engines like Google about what your product or service offering entails and where you do business.
Select a keyword phrase that you believe is most commonly used when searching for your business. You can find out exactly what terms people are using by using Google’s free Keyword Planner tool.
Change your home page’s meta title (or page title) to include this keyword phrase, your primary service city, and your business name. For example, if you are a dentist operating in Chicago, Illinois you’ll implement a meta title that reads; Wilson Dental | Dentist in Chicago, IL. To change your home page’s meta title, perform a google search for instructions on doing so for your website platform (ie. Wordpress, Squarespace etc.) or ask your website manager to make the change!
Change the first text or heading of your page to reflect the same information and keywords found in your meta title.
2. Build some links. Once Google understands what you’re offering and where you’re offering it, links will be a large determining factor when it comes to positioning you and your competitors in the search results. In SEO, a link to your website from another trusted, authoritative and reputable website increases your site’s strength and SEO potential. Here are some great ways to start building links:
Sign up for HARO and start pitching yourself as an expert to journalists looking for sources to quote in their articles. While the success rate of your insights gaining inclusion in the final article may be around 10%, using this tool daily can lead to a handful of highly valuable links within a few weeks and months. It’s also completely free to use!
Reclaim any links you may not have obtained through sponsorships, business partnerships, conference participation etc. Anyone who may have a reason to link to your site is a potential outreach target for reclaiming links to your website.
Uncover local business directory sites by using this handing step-by-step guide and add your business where applicable.
3. Claim & optimize your local business listings. For any locally geared businesses, claiming, optimizing and managing the consistency of your business listings is a must. Moz.com has created an incredible guide to managing your local SEO efforts found here. It will take some time to read through, but it’s worth the investment.
4. Get serious about reviews. In addition, make sure you’re being intentional about gathering and collecting reviews on the sites your customers use to make their purchase decisions. For some businesses this may be Google and Yelp, for others it could include industry specific referral sites like Vitals.com for medical practices, Laywers.com for legal practices etc. Find out what sites are important for your industry and focus your review gathering efforts there.